Shirley is a Scottish musician, the lead vocalist of the band Garbage. Manson is the second of three daughters; her father is a geneticist and her mother is a former singer. She started learning the piano at age seven, later attending the City of Edinburgh Music School where she also joined the school's theatre group. At school, she was regularly bullied, and inflicted self harm.
She briefly worked at a shop but her first musical job was playing keyboards and singing backing vocals in Goodbye Mr. Mackenzie, where she remained for a decade until the band split up in 1992.
She then joined several bands — Angelfish, August 1984 and Wild Indians — before being spotted by the members of Garbage, who - after two auditions - asked her to front the band in 1994.
Manson immediately set about re-writing the lyrics to the band's already written songs. The resulting collaborative efforts became Garbage, the band's debut album, which would go on to sell 5 million copies worldwide, including double platinum certifications in UK, US and Australia. The album produced hit singles and breakthrough hits such as "Stupid Girl", "Only Happy When It Rains" and "Vow".
On 7 September 1996 Manson married the sculptor Eddie Farrell. They separated in 2003 and are now divorced.
By the time their second album, Version 2.0, was being recorded in the band's own studio, Manson had become the band's primary lyricist, but would still be regarded by many as simply the face of Garbage. As a regular musical contributor and guitarist (her orange Fender Stratocaster is named 'Rita'), she felt great disappointment at the general perception of her role in the group.
Shirley Manson was briefly a model for Calvin Klein's 1999 celebrity musician campaign, which also featured Melissa Auf der Maur and Kim Gordon. It was the first time she would appear in public without makeup. This experience, coupled with the confidence that the composer David Arnold had shown in her when co-producing the theme tune for the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, led her to write more self-reflective lyrics, which ended up on the group's third album, beautifulgarbage. For the first time, Manson felt that people were beginning to accept her as a full member of the group.
She actively participates in various AIDS charities: one notable occurrence was her appearance alongside Elton John and Mary J. Blige in the MAC Cosmetics' Viva Glam campaign. She is also a patron of the Edinburgh-based charity, Waverley Care, and co-hosted a fundraiser for it in January 2004.
In 2003, Manson had potentially risky surgery to fix her vocal cords. Shortly after this, the group briefly dissolved because of in-fighting. However, the band resolved their problems and got back together, recording Bleed Like Me, their fourth set, which upon its release reached the top 5 in the US, and sold well around the world.
In 2005, she revealed that she has the condition body dysmorphia, which may be the root of the depression which she has mentioned previously.
Manson includes Siouxsie & the Banshees and Frank Sinatra amongst her musical idols, as well as Debbie Harry - with whom she performed in September 2004 at a breast cancer benefit in Los Angeles. They performed two duets - Wayne Wonder's 'Bounce Along', and Blondie's 'Call Me'.
She spends much of her time at the band's base in Wisconsin, although she does own a house in her native Edinburgh.